Conclusion

 

The defeats of 1924 and 1952 did not prevent the ultimate victory of the Jewish interest in combating the cultural, political, and demographic dominance of the European- derived peoples of the United States. What is truly remarkable is the tenacity with which Jewish ethnic interests were pursued for a period of close to 100 years. Also remarkable was the ability to frame the argument of immigration- restrictionists in terms of racial superiority in the period from 1924- 1965 rather than in such positive terms as the ethnic interests of the peoples of northern and western Europe in maintaining a status quo as of 1924.

During the period between 1924 and 1965 Jewish interests were largely thwarted, but this did not prevent the ultimate triumph of the Jewish perspective on immigration. In a very real sense the result of the immigration changes fostered by Jewish intellectual and political activity have constituted a long term victory over the political, demographic, and cultural representation of “the common people of the South and West” (Higham 1984, 49) whose congressional delegates were in the forefront of the restrictionist forces. Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb (1995) notes that it is the descendants of those WASPS who settled the West and South who “by and large did the most to lay out the infrastructure of this country, quite often suffering educational and professional regression as they tamed the wilderness, built the towns, roads and schools, and initiated a democratic way of life that later white cultures were able to take advantage of without paying the price of pioneering. Today they have the least, socioeconomically, to show for these contributions. And if one would care to check a map, they are from the areas now evincing the greatest resistance to government practices.” Webb’s ideas are not new but reflect the sentiments a great many congressmen voiced during the immigration debates of the 1920’s.

It is instructive to consider the possible long term effects of this sea change in American immigration policy combined with the current emphasis on multi- culturalism. The shift to multiculturalism has coincided with an enormous growth of immigration from non- European- derived peoples beginning with the Immigration Act of 1965 which favored immigrants from non- European countries. Many of these immigrants come from non- Western countries where cultural, gender, and genetic segregation are the norm. Within the context of multicultural America, they are encouraged to retain their own languages and religions and encouraged to marry within the group.

The movement toward ethnic separatism is highly problematic. Historically, ethnic separatism has been an extremely divisive force within societies. At the present time there are ethnically based conflicts on every continent, and formerly multi- ethnic societies are breaking away and establishing ethno- states based on ethnic homogeneity (Tullberg & Tullberg, 1997). These results confirm the expectation that indeed ethnicity is important in human affairs. People appear to be extremely aware of group membership, and ethnicity remains a common source of group identity. Individuals are also keenly aware of the relative standing of their own group in terms of resource control and social status. And they are willing to take extraordinary steps in order to achieve and retain economic and political power in defense of these group imperatives.

It is instructive to think of the circumstances which could minimize group conflict given the assumption of ethnic separatism. Theorists of cultural pluralism, such as Horace Kallen, envision the possibility that different ethnic groups would retain their distinctive identity in the context of complete political equality and economic opportunity. The difficulty with this scenario is that no provision is made for the results of competition for resources within the society.

In the best of circumstances one might suppose that the separated ethnic groups would engage in absolute reciprocity with each other, so that there would be no differences in terms of any measure of success in the society, including social class membership, economic role (e. g., producer versus consumer; creditor versus debtor; manager versus worker), or fertility between the separated ethnic groups. All groups would have approximately equal numbers and equal political power, or if there were different numbers there would be provisions ensuring that minorities could retain equitable representation in terms of the markers of success. Such conditions would minimize hostility between the groups because it would be difficult to attribute one’s status to the actions of the other group.

However, given the existence of ethnic separatism, it would still be in the interests of each group to advance its own interests at the expense of the other groups. All things being equal, a given ethnic group would be better off if it ensured that the other group had fewer resources, a lower social status, lower fertility, and proportionately less political power than itself. (Indeed, lowering the political and demographic power of the European- derived peoples of the United States has clearly been the aim of the Jewish political and intellectual activities discussed here.) The hypothesized steady state of equality therefore implies a set of balance of power relationships— each side constantly checking to make sure that the other is not cheating; each side constantly looking for ways to obtain dominance and exploitation by any possible means; each side willing to compromise only because of the threat of retaliation by the other side; each side willing to cooperate in a manner which involves a cost only if forced to do so by, e. g., the presence of external threat. Clearly any type of cooperation which would involve true altruism toward the other group would not be expected.

Thus the ideal situation of absolute equality would certainly require a great deal of monitoring and undoubtedly be characterized by a great deal of mutual suspicion. However, in the real world even this rather grim ideal is highly unlikely. In the real world, ethnic groups differ in their talents and abilities; they differ in their numbers, fertility, and the extent to which they encourage parenting practices conducive to resource acquisition; and they differ in the resources held at any point in time and in their political power. Equality or proportionate equity would be extremely difficult to attain, or to maintain after it has been achieved, without extraordinary levels of monitoring and without extremely intense social controls which would enforce ethnic quotas on the accumulation of wealth, admission to universities, obtaining high status jobs, etc.

Because of differing talents and abilities and differing parenting styles between ethnic groups, there would be a need to have different criteria for qualifying and retaining jobs depending on ethnic group membership. 23 In the real world, therefore, there would have to be extraordinary efforts made to attain this steady state of ethnic balance of power and resources. It is of great interest that the ideology of Jewish- gentile co- existence has sometimes included the idea that the different ethnic groups develop a similar occupational profile and (implicitly) control resources in proportion to their numbers. The dream of the German assimilationists during the nineteenth- century was that the occupational profile of the Jews after emancipation would be highly similar to that of the gentiles— a “utopian expectation . . . shared by many, Jews and non- Jews alike” (Katz, 1986, p. 67). Efforts were made to decrease the percentage of Jews involved in trade and increase the percentages involved in agriculture and artisanry. In the event, however, the result of emancipation was that Jews were vastly overrepresented among the economic and cultural elite of the society, and this overrepresentation was a critical feature of German anti- Semitism from 1870- 1933.

Similarly, during the 1920s plans were proposed in which each ethnic group received a percentage of placements at Harvard and other universities reflecting the percentage of racial and national groups in the United States. These plans certainly reflect the importance of ethnicity in human affairs, but surely a society based on this type of ethnic special interest is not one which a social engineer in the manner of Lycurgus, Moses, Plato, or the American Founding Fathers would design as a blueprint for an entire society. The levels of social tension are bound to be chronically high. Moreover, there is a considerable chance that ethnic warfare would occur even if precise parity had been achieved via intensive social controls: as indicated above, it would always be in the interests of any ethnic group to obtain hegemony over the others.

If one adopts a cultural pluralism model in which there is free competition for resources and reproductive success, differences between ethnic groups are inevitable, and history suggests that such differences would result in animosity from the groups that are losing out. The Tutsi/ Hutu struggle in Rwanda and its neighbors is only the latest of many tragic examples. Assuming that there are ethnic differences in talents and abilities, the supposition that ethnic separatism could be a stable situation without ethnic animosity requires either a balance of power situation maintained with powerful social controls, as described above, or it requires that at least some ethnic groups be unconcerned that they are losing in the competition.

I regard this last possibility as remote at best. The proposition that an ethnic group should or would be unconcerned with its own eclipse and domination is certainly not expected by any theoretical or ideological perspective of which I am aware. The present immigration policy essentially places America “in play” as an arena of ethnic competition in a sense which does not apply in the non- Western nations of the world where the implicit assumption is that territory is held by its historically- dominant people. Under present policies, each racial/ ethnic group in the world is encouraged to press its interest in expanding its demographic and political presence in America and can be expected to do so if given the opportunity.

Contrary to policies they advocate for the United States, American Jews have had no interest at all in proposing that immigration to Israel should be similarly multi- ethnic or that Israel should have an immigration policy that would threaten the hegemony of Jews in Israel. Indeed, the very deep ethnic conflict within Israel is an excellent example of the failure of multi- culturalism. Similarly, while Jews have been on the forefront of movements to separate church and state in the United States and often protested lack of religious freedom in the Soviet Union, the control of religious affairs by the Orthodox in Israel has received only belated and half- hearted opposition by American Jewish organizations (Cohen, 1972, 317) and has not prevented the all- out support of Israel by American Jews, despite the fact that Israel’s policy regarding immigration is quite the opposite of that of Western democracies.

At present the interests of non- European- derived peoples to expand demographically and politically in the United States are widely perceived as a moral imperative, while the attempts of the European- derived peoples to retain demographic, political, and cultural control are represented as “racist” and patently immoral. From the perspective of these European- derived peoples, the prescribed morality entails altruism and self- sacrifice, and it is unlikely to be viable in the long run. And, as we have seen, the viability of such a morality of self- sacrifice is especially problematic in the context of a multicultural society in which everyone is highly conscious of group membership and there is between- group competition for resources.

Although the success of the anti- restrictionist effort is an indication that people can be induced to be altruistic toward other groups, I rather doubt such altruism will continue to occur if there are obvious signs that the status and political power of the European- derived group is decreasing while the power of other groups increases as a result of immigration and other social policies. The prediction, both on common sense grounds and on the basis of psychological research on social identity process (e. g., Hogg & Abrams, 1987), is that as other groups become increasingly powerful and salient in a multicultural society, the European- derived peoples of the United States will become increasingly unified and that contemporary divisive influences among the European- derived peoples of the United States (e. g., issues related to gender and sexual orientation; social class differences; religious differences) will be increasingly perceived as unimportant. Eventually these groups will develop greater cohesion and a sense of common interest in their interactions with the other ethnic groups with profound consequences on the future history of America and the West.


 

NOTES

1 Raab is associated with the Anti- Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL), and is executive director emeritus of the Perlmutter Institute for Jewish Advocacy at Brandeis University. He is also a columnist for the San Francisco Jewish Bulletin. Among other works, he is co- author, with Seymour Lipset of The Politics of Unreason: Right Wing- Extremism in America, 1790- 1970 (Lipset & Raab 1970), a volume in a series of books on anti- Semitism in the United States sponsored by the ADL.

 2 In Australia, Miriam Faine, an editorial committee member of the Australian Jewish Democrat stated that “The strengthening of multicultural or diverse Australia is also our most effective insurance policy against anti- semitism. The day Australia has a Chinese Australian Governor General I would feel more confident of my freedom to live as a Jewish Australian” (in McCormack 1994, p. 11). 

3 Moreover, a deep concern that an ethnically and culturally homogeneous America would compromise Jewish interests can be seen in Silberman’s comments on the attraction of Jews to “the Democratic party . . . with its traditional hospitality to non- WASP ethnic groups. . . . A distinguished economist who strongly disagreed with Mondale’s economic policies voted for him nonetheless. ‘I watched the conventions on television, ’ he explained, ‘and the Republicans did not look like my kind of people.” That same reaction led many Jews to vote for Carter in 1980 despite their dislike of him; ‘I’d rather live in a country governed by the faces I saw at the Democratic convention than by those I saw at the Republican convention’ a well- known author told me” (pp. 347- 348).

 4 Goldberg (1996, 160) notes that the future neo- conservatives were disciples of Trotskyist theoretician Max Schachtman. A good example is Irving Kristol’s (1983) “Memoirs of a Trotskyist.”

 5 Grant’s letter to the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization emphasized the principle argument of the restrictionists, i. e., that the use of the 1890 census of the foreign born as the basis of the immigration law was fair to all ethnic groups currently in the country, and that the use of the 1910 census discriminated against the “native Americans whose ancestors were in this country before its independence.” He also argued in favor of quotas from Western Hemisphere nations because these countries “in some cases furnish very undesirable immigrants. The Mexicans who come into the United States are overwhelmingly of Indian blood, and the recent intelligence tests have shown their very low intellectual status. We have already got too many of them in our Southwestern States, and a check should be put on their increase” (p. 571). Grant was also concerned about the unassimilability of recent immigrants. He included with his letter a Chicago Tribune editorial commenting on a situation in Hamtramck, Michigan in which recent immigrants were described as demanding “Polish rule,” the expulsion of non- Poles, and that only the Polish language be spoken even by federal officials. Grant also argued that differences in reproductive rate would result in displacement of groups that delayed marriage and had fewer children— clearly a concern that as a result of immigration his ethnic group would be displaced by ethnic groups with a higher rate of natural increase. (Restriction of Immigration; Hearings Before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization House of Representatives, sixty- eighth Congress, First Session, Jan. 5, 1924; p. 570.) 

6 Restriction of Immigration; Hearings Before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization House of Representatives, sixty- eighth Congress, First Session, Jan. 5, 1924; p. 580- 581.

 7 Statement of the AJCongress, Joint Hearings Before the Subcommittees of the Committees on the Judiciary, 82nd Congress, first session, on S. 716, H. R. 2379, and H. R. 2816. March 6- April 9, 1951, p. 391.

 8 Restriction of Immigration; Hearings Before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization House of Representatives, sixty- eighth Congress, First Session, Jan. 3, 1924; p. 303.

 9 Restriction of Immigration; Hearings Before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization House of Representatives, sixty- eighth Congress, First Session, Jan. 3, 1924; p. 341. 

10 For example, in the Senate debates of April 15- 19, 1924, Nordic superiority was not mentioned by any of the proponents of the legislation but was mentioned by the following opponents of the legislation: Senators Colt (p. 6542), Reed (p. 6468), Walsh (p. 6355). In the House debates of April 5, 8, and 15, virtually all of the opponents of the legislation raised the racial inferiority issue, including Reps. Celler (p. 5914- 5915), Clancy (p. 5930), Connery (p. 5683), Dickstein (p. 5655- 5656, 5686), Gallivan (p. 5849), Jacobstein (p. 5864), James (p. 5670), Kunz (p. 5896), LaGuardia (p. 5657), Mooney (p. 5909- 5910), O’Connell (p. 5836), O’Connor (p. 5648), Oliver (p. 5870), O’Sullivan (p. 5899), Perlman (p. 5651); Sabath (p. 5651, 5662), and Tague (p. 5873). Several representatives (e. g., Reps. Dickinson [p. 6267), Garber [pp. 5689- 5693] and Smith [p. 5705]) contrasted the positive characteristics of the Nordic immigrants with the negative characteristics of more recent immigrants without distinguishing genetic from environmental reasons as possible influences. They, along with several others, noted especially the lack of assimilation of the recent immigrants and their tendencies to cluster in urban areas. Rep. Allen argued that there is a “necessity for purifying and keeping pure the blood of America” (p. 5693). Rep. McSwain, who argued for the need to preserve Nordic hegemony, did not do so on the basis of Nordic superiority but on the basis of legitimate ethnic self- interest (pp. 5683- 5; see also comments of Reps. Lea and Miller). Rep. Gasque introduced a newspaper article that referred to the “laws of heredity” and to the swamping of the race that had built America (p. 6270).

11 Restriction of Immigration. Hearings Before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization House of Representatives, sixty- eighth Congress, First Session, Jan. 3, 1924; p. 351. 

12 See, e. g., Restriction of Immigration; Hearings Before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization House of Representatives, sixty- eighth Congress, First Session, Jan. 5, 1924; p. 733ff. 

13 Hearings before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, House of Representatives, May 24- June 1, 1939: Joint Resolutions to Authorize the Admission to the United States of a Limited Number of German Refugee Children, p. 1. 

14 Hearings before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, House of Representatives, May 24- June 1, 1939: Joint Resolutions to Authorize the Admission to the United States of a Limited Number of German Refugee Children, p. 78. 

15 Hearings before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, House of Representatives, May 24- June 1, 1939: Joint Resolutions to Authorize the Admission to the United States of a Limited Number of German Refugee Children, p. 140. 

16 Statement of the AJCongress, Joint Hearings Before the Subcommittees of the Committees on the Judiciary, 82nd Congress, first session, on S. 716, H. R. 2379, and H. R. 2816. March 6- April 9, 1951, p. 565. 

17 Statement of the AJCongress, Joint Hearings Before the Subcommittees of the Committees on the Judiciary, 82nd Congress, first session, on S. 716, H. R. 2379, and H. R. 2816. March 6- April 9, 1951, p. 566. See also statement of Rabbi Bernard J. Bamberger, President of the Synagogue Council of America; See also the statement of the AJCongress, pp. 560- 561. 

18 Statement of Will Maslow representing the AJCongress, Joint Hearings Before the Subcommittees of the Committees on the Judiciary, 82nd Congress, first session, on S. 716, H. R. 2379, and H. R. 2816. March 6- April 9, 1951, p. 394. 

19 Joint Hearings Before the Subcommittees of the Committees on the Judiciary, 82nd Congress, first session, on S. 716, H. R. 2379, and H. R. 2816. March 6- April 9, 1951, pp. 562- 595. 

20 Joint Hearings Before the Subcommittees of the Committees on the Judiciary, 82nd Congress, first session, on S. 716, H. R. 2379, and H. R. 2816. March 6- April 9, 1951, p. 410. 

21 Joint Hearings Before the Subcommittees of the Committees on the Judiciary, 82nd Congress, first session, on S. 716, H. R. 2379, and H. R. 2816. March 6- April 9, 1951, p. 404. 

22 Joint Hearings Before the Subcommittees of the Committees on the Judiciary, 82nd Congress, first session, on S. 716, H. R. 2379, and H. R. 2816. March 6- April 9, 1951, p. 563.

23 Moreover, achieving parity between Jews and other ethnic groups would entail a very high level of discrimination against individual Jews for admission to universities or employment opportunities, and would even entail a large taxation on Jews in order to prevent the present Jewish advantage in the possession of wealth, since at present Jews are vastly over- represented among the wealthy and the successful in the United States (e. g., Ginsberg, 1994; Lipsett & Raab, 1995). Beginning in the 1920s, studies have repeatedly shown that Ashkenazi Jews have a full- scale IQ of approximately 117 and a verbal IQ in the range of 125 (see MacDonald, 1994 for a review). By 1988, Jews constituted about 40% of admissions to Ivy League colleges and Jewish income was at least double that of gentiles (Shapiro (1992, p. 116). Shapiro also shows that Jews are overrepresented by at least a factor of nine on indexes of wealth, but that this is a conservative estimate because much Jewish wealth is in real estate which is difficult to determine and easy to hide. While constituting approximately 2.4% of the population of the United States, Jews represented one half of the top 100 Wall Street executives. Lipset and Raab (1995) note that Jews contribute between one- quarter and one- third of all political contributions in the United States, including one- half of Democratic Party contributions and one- fourth of Republican contributions. Indeed, many Jewish intellectuals (including “neo- conservatives” such as Daniel Bell, Sidney Hook, Irving Howe, Irving Kristol, Nathan Glazer, Norman Podhoretz, and Earl Raab) as well as Jewish organizations (including the ADL, the AJCommittee, and the AJCongress) have been eloquent opponents of affirmative action and quota mechanisms for distributing resources (see Sachar 1992, p. 818ff).

 

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